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Function, beauty and expressiveness

This robotic hand looks such a neat idea. In the video below it looks like it can pick things up no matter what their shape or orientation. It makes me wonder if it could have an assistive application?

An awful lot of amazing effort is being expended on control systems so that artificial hands have the responsiveness to pick up all the random things we need in a normal day, but they would still struggle to pick up a credit card. This device, on the other hand, can do that and looks like it could have the potential to complement these control technologies.

The issue with it may be simply that it doesn’t look like a hand.

Prosthetists (the only people who can say that word) talk about static and dynamic cosmesis – how familiar and acceptable a prosthetic hand looks when still, and how much more acceptable it is when it moves like a hand.

I don’t know, but there is something about this video and the way the “hand” moves that makes me believe it can be designed to be functional and beautiful and expressive. Not the same, but in some ways better.

That brings me to Aimee Mullins, an athlete and model; when she started running competitively in the mid-90’s with carbon-fibre lower legs, it was remarkable. She now has 12 pairs of legs which allow her to express herself in many different ways. It makes you reflect on what function, beauty and expressiveness can achieve.

aimee-mullins-12-leg-pairs

 

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